Kilndown Quarry Centre
Organic and local produce shop, Saturday mornings, 9am - midday.
Available to hire, £5.00 per hour including heating.
Contact: Chairman: Richard Crumpling 01580 879549
Bookings & treasurer: Lynda Shepherd 01580 879549
Kilndown, a Wealden village, high up on the Kent and East Sussex borders, was a scattering of cottages, with one or two larger houses, until the arrival at Bedgebury Park, in the late 1830’s of Viscount Beresford, who undertook many building schemes and the village began to emerge. One such scheme in 1870 was to enlarge the White Hart to include a function room and to change the name of the inn to the Globe and Rainbow, reflecting his coat of arms. Up until then any social gatherings had to take place in the village school, the homes of local landowners or at venues in nearby Goudhurst. In 1880 a site opposite the Globe and Rainbow was gifted to the village by Edward Hussey of Scotney and a ‘neat wooden building’ was erected, constructed by Mr Player, the cost of which was defrayed by the Reverend Henry Harrison. This was known as the Kilndown Club and Institute to be used as a recreational reading room and working men’s club, it was bequeathed to church trustees in 1882 by Henry Harrison to be used for the same or like purposes as long as it was needed. Uses of the building varied widely over the years, Drill Hall for the Home Guard, extra schoolroom, Scout and Guide Hut, and a paint store for a local decorator. In 1979 news came that the Village Store and Post Office opposite was to close, and with it would also go the doctors surgery. The Vicar, Canon Wyndham Johnson, as a church trustee, transferred use of the building to the village to serve as Community Shop, Post Office and doctors surgery. In March 1980 a Post Office was opened in the dilapidated building, and immediately repair and refurbishment began with voluntary help and countless fund raising events.
The Institute was renamed the Quarry Centre, on December 6, 1980, 100 years to the day of the original opening ceremony, reason for the name, being that the quarry pond, next to the building, from which the stone for Christ Church was drawn was now a feature of the village.
As time passed, a weekly market selling home cooking or hand made items was introduced, and a trading counter, both well received, especially by the school children for the sweets sold, anything and everything was tried to raise money and to keep the centre a viable proposition, resulting in a National Village Ventures Award in 1983. The only problem was the non existence of a lavatory, however there was a public WC at the Globe and Rainbow, which was used in ‘emergencies’! The need of such a facility was always on the agenda but never quite made it, however, in 1997 it was announced that the Globe and Rainbow was to close……this provided the motivation.
After some rather toilet humoured and some say, risqué events, tasteful music concerts, donations from companies with a ’toilet link’ and a National Lottery Grant, the centre saw in the new Millennium at the age of 120 years, with a fully disabled friendly lavatory. In September of that year another new venture was put into action, a Saturday Shop, selling organic and Fair Trade groceries which gave the centre another string to its bow.
Some unwanted attention in the early years of the new century involved the stealing of the York stone steps, an attempted break in to the Post Office and finally a ram raid which eventually saw the end of Post Office services in the village and also the weekly market and trading counter. Tradition and spirit keeps Kilndown going and five years later, the bunting went up and the centre held it’s 125th Birthday Party.
Over the years there have been countless events and celebrations at the centre, meetings held, the Quilting Group who meet there have stitched dozens of quilts, for charitable organisations in and outside the village, and so, in 2010 Kilndown villagers were pleased that a generous landowner and a foresighted Vicar saw fit to erect ‘a neat wooden building’ in 1880.